Steelhead 70.3 Ironman……Redemption

For all the things that went wrong in this race it was amazing how well it turned out for me.

WRONG: 1)  The rain started as soon as we left the hotel and didn’t let up until I got on the bike.  This meant we set up our transition in the rain, waited for the start in the rain, and did all the preparation in the rain.  After a while I didn’t even try to keep things dry.  My clothes, transition bag, shoes, food, towels, etc. were all sitting in the pouring rain when the transition area closed.  2)  I left my Garmin back at the hotel.  This meant I had no idea how fast I was going on the bike, what my pace was on the run, or what my overall time was leading up to the finish.  There were no clocks on the course or in the transition.  I didn’t know my overall time until Dave Bagot called in the results to us.  3)  I left my Perpetuem and spare bottles in the fridge back at the hotel.  This meant I had to rely soley on what the race had to offer as far as hydration.  4)  I didn’t get to the swim start until 3 minutes before the start.  This left me without a warm-up and a high stress level.  I didn’t piss my wetsuit like Dan but as soon as I hit the water I let it flow.

RIGTH:  5:07

The swim was a point-to-point race.  This meant we had to walk 1.2 miles in the sand to the start.  This left plenty of time to talk and get rid of the pre-race jitters but after 45 minutes Dan and I arrived at the start only 3 minutes before the start……PANIC!  Swimming in a straight line elimiated the usual clobering of arms and legs.  After a couple of minutes I was able to easily settle into a rhtyhm.  We were supposed to be swimming with the current but I really didn’t feel one.  My time of 36:24 was too good to be true so I guess there was plenty of push.

Exiting the water I felt decent.  However, after cresting the sand dune I was breathing heavy and fighting for air.  Knowing there was still 5 hours to race I really took my time in the transition.  I even took the time to steal some grapes off the ground that the guy next to me had dropped.  I was desperate for sugar and fuel after leaving my drinks at the hotel.

For the first few miles on the bike I really didn’t feel that well.  It was wet and still sprinkling but the road was smooth and rolling; pretty good conditions.  After the first feed zone (9.2 miles) I began to feel better.  My rhythm seemed less effortful and I was able to maintain a pretty good speed considering the riders I was passing.  At mile 25 Travis passed me which was bitter sweet.  It was nice seeing a familiar rabbit but bitter because he started 7 minutes behind me and the race wasn’t even half way over.  At mile 40 I began to cramp so I purposefully slowed down.  By mile 54 I was in the little chain ring just trying to spin.  Ironically my average speed of 21.7 mph was pretty fast for me.  Again, not knowing my overall time or average speed my only barometer was that Travis zoomed by me at mile 25.  If he usually finishes around 5 hours then maybe my goal of 5:30 could be accomplished.

T2 was purposely slow for me.  I walked my bike instead of running trying to get the cramps to calm down and to catch my breath.  I took the time to shotgun a can of Redbull and stretch my calves.  I then walked to the run start.

From the start of the run my legs felt good.  Even though I was putting on the brakes to keep some energy in reserve for the finish I was still passing runners.  At mile 2, as I was saying “hey” to Brigitte C., my Fuel Belt came off and I had to turn around and retrieve it.  Not wanting to take the time to figure out how to fix it I stuffed it back in my pocket.  Around 6 or 7 I met Lunch with Eric, he looked to be flying and I was hoping he was having a good time.  The entire run was pretty uneventful except for my shoe coming untied and having to visit the port-o-potty.   I walked through every other aid station which I felt like it allowed my legs to rest.  I really did feel good on the run and as I was approaching 10 miles I asked a spectator what time it was.  I thought that if we really did start at 08:28 I could estimate my finish time based on the current time of day.  Mixing lactic acid, Gatorade, and Endurolytes left my right brain the inability to function.  I couldn’t figure out how this race was taking me 7 hours!  Anyway I was thankful to not have to walk the big climb and finish strong.  My average pace ended up being 08:14 for the 13.1.

My time of 05:07 was far better than my goal of 05:30.  I think the key was really trying to take it easy on the bike and taking my time in the transitions.  Well, anyway it was sweet redemption from the Iron Abe fiasco.